Bombing not the answer (Rosa Steppanova and James Mackenzie)

Today MPs will be voting whether or not to escalate the war in Iraq.

Bombing in Iraq will do nothing but cause more death and suffering, and add to the already growing tragedy of refugees in the Mediterranean and in Calais.

This is what the UK government should be addressing, both as a nation state and a member state of the EU, not going to war again.

If you are opposed to the deployment of British war planes for bombing in Iraq (and quite possibly Syria too) please lobby your MP via:

For a good analysis of why we should not go to war, please read this piece by Simon Jenkins in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper:

Rosa Steppanova
James Mackenzie
Lea Gardens,


Add Your Comment
  • Thomas Goodlad

    • September 26th, 2014 13:03

    So we take no action,turn our backs and let these barbaric thugs carry on murdering,rapeing and forcing good decent folks out of there homes to suffer and probably freeze to death with the onset of winter.

    I do not want war but I also know that you have to control weeds if you want a beautiful garden!

    • Rosa Steppanova

      • September 26th, 2014 19:54

      Thomas Goodlad
      It goes without saying that I disapprove of murder and rape and I share your concern for the “good decent folk [forced] out of their homes to suffer and probably freeze to death with the onset of winter.”
      According to UN figures, an estimated 2,8 million Syrians fled their country since the war began three years ago. 890.000 Syrian refugees have been taken in by Turkey to date – to name just one example and to provide a comparison.
      By June 2014 (sorry I don’t have any more recent figures) precisely 24 (!) had been allowed to enter Britain.

  • joe johnson

    • September 26th, 2014 14:04

    The islamic state is a serious threat. Not only are they killing Christians and many innocent people, they are threatening the U.K and other western countries. I don’t want military action but unfortunately it has to be done. We can’t just sit back and let them behead innocent people and massacre thousands of people. They must be stopped and it must be shown to islamic extremists that the U.K will not stand by and allow this to happen. Don’t forget there are islamic extremists here in the U.K who are going out to fight for the islamic state and some are returning to U.K after fighting in Iraq and Syria. They must be stopped.

  • Andrew Holt

    • September 26th, 2014 17:18

    Time and time again the UK goverment has failed to understand the nature of the problem in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. This despite a copious literature on the subject, not least among which I would recommend “Occupational Hazards” (Iraq) and “The Places In Between” (Afghanistan). Both by Rory Stewart. The Americans in particular seem to have difficulty understanding the nature of the culture of these countries and many other countries affairs in which they have become embroiled in recent times. But we seem little better as together with our American cousins we plunge our arms deep into this dustbin of feuding ferrets.

  • Andy Hayes

    • September 26th, 2014 21:01

    I don’t want us to kill the innocent people with our rockets, but we will. (Oops, rockets are something that terrorists use, whereas we in the civilised world use missiles). I suspect that we will kill more civilians than ISIL will ever kill. Remember that the Saudis behead many more people a year than ISIL.

    As far as gardening analogies are concerned, I supsect that we will end up turning current flowers into future weeds.

    Only one good thing comes out of this and that is an idea of our nation’s real wealth. After being told that there is no more money for this that and the other, at least we have enough money for warfare.

  • David Spence

    • September 26th, 2014 23:58

    I may be wrong, but I was under the impression the reason ISIS became so powerful in Syria and then moved into Iraq, was because we in the west, especially the United States, armed to the teeth the resistance against the Asad regime within Syria and it has now got out of control?

    Although I in no way approve of the atrocities committed by this evil group of Islamic militants (although they are doing it in the name of Allah via the Jihad (allegedly)) I quite agree that most of the Muslim population and countries quite rightly oppose and object to what ISIS is doing and what they are supposed to be representing is a false interpretation of the Muslim religion.

    It is a very difficult situation in which the west and the rest of the world is in, and the old adage ‘ You shouldn’t fight fire with fire ‘ but I can perfectly understand, in some circumstances and in the name of saving many, many civilian lives, drastic action is required to reduce or stop this group from committing further atrocities and also stop their expansion to a level where they may serve as a very serious threat to our lives and way of life here in the west and in Europe.

    It seems very obvious, based on Government controlled media, that ISIS has no regard whatsoever for human life, and by kidnapping people from the United Kingdom or the USA or an European country as a means of financing their aims and goals is in no way an option.

    However, as a member of the audience in Question Time last night (25/09/2014) said that the hypocrisy and double standards we show when Israel is equally as brutal in its treatment of the Palestinian people, and we in the west, due to the United States backing Israel, remain quiet, subdued and say nothing as the recent killings in Gaza have demonstrated. Nearly 80% of people killed in Gaza are civilians (2367) whilst 71 Israeli’s have been killed. This, no matter how much you try to justify it, is without a doubt completely disproportionate in every way……….not that there is a right way in terms of the number of people being killed for a cause.

  • Johan Adamson

    • September 29th, 2014 9:07

    I am a bit concerned about the lack of opposition to this in parliament. Just what has happened? Have we no pacifists left and no one who can see that we might be creating the problem as several invasions, missile attacks etc, etc have failed to solve and maybe even exacerbate the problem? It makes you wonder if we know the whole truth.

  • Andy Holt

    • September 29th, 2014 10:03

    We do ourselves a grave dis-service by continually parroting the line that Islam is a religion of peace. Even a cursory glance at the peace loving muslim majority countries of the Middle East and beyond should be sufficient to reveal the inadequacy of that particular comfort blanket. Ask yourself, in which of these states would you be happy to be openly gay or a confessing Christian or the wrong gender? Perhaps we should try thinking the until now unthinkable that Islam is not a religion of peace unless you are prepared to submit to it and that ISIL might be the true face of Islam, with the mask off! As for bombing, you cannot bomb this away, and that approach will only make a bad situation worse. We can and should open our borders to a fair proportion of the refugees fleeing the conflict and the UK goverment should be ashamed of their wholly inadequate response to this catastrophe. To ally ourselves with the Saudis, Qhataris and the Iranians is almost mind blowing in its crass stupidity and will only serve to draw us deeper into the Middle East mire.

    • joe johnson

      • September 29th, 2014 16:13

      I agree with Andy Holt. Islam is not a religion of peace. I’m not saying all Muslim’s are terrorists but the religion itself is not a religion of peace. Look how they treat women and unbelievers of Islam in Muslim countries.

      • Henry Condy

        • October 18th, 2014 22:52

        The theorom of all religions is Love your fellow man, its mankind who fails, there is no money in it for the multi millionaire war machines in the U SA, by providing ploughshares , food and accommodation to the displaced, War is profit and power.

    • Johan Adamson

      • September 30th, 2014 8:50

      So are you saying then its Ok to fight fire with fire?

  • Ian Tinkler

    • September 29th, 2014 21:54

    To all bigots whom expound their narrow views here, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, all their past histories have a rich tapestry of murder and persecution. It is not the Religions of the Children of Abraham, it is their churches and preachers whom are at fault for so corrupting those religions.
    King James Bible
    Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

  • James Mackenzie

    • September 30th, 2014 2:24

    This is so sad. There are members of the Shetland community who are Muslim. How do Andy Holt and Joe Johnson feel about that?

    • joe johnson

      • October 1st, 2014 16:02

      James Mackenzie, im not saying all Muslim’s are bad. I’m just saying that islam is not a religion of peace. I know you get some nutters and fanatics from any religion but look on the news and tell me how islam is a religion of peace. I’m sorry but its the truth and I’ve no doubt most people in the world know this but are afraid to say it.

  • Andy Holt

    • October 1st, 2014 9:17

    Ian Tinkler is right to point out the dreadful deeds done in the name of religion, including Christianity and I might add, communism, secular humanism and nationalism. I am only too well aware of how my own faith stream has gone wrong as it loses sight of the words and example of Jesus. In answer to James I would clarify the point I was trying to make. I am sure there are many Muslims who are desirous only to live in peace and are genuinely horrified at the works of ISIS and others. I reserve the right however to come to my own conclusions as to the nature of Islam. It has been obvious for some time that to criticise Islam invites approbrium from the “progressives” and worse from the fundamentalists. Criticism and freedom of thought and belief are our legacy and to be guarded. Islam avoids criticism of its scriptures by claiming offence at best and threat of violence as a last resort. For example the burning of Saman Rushdie’s novel and the fatwa against him, the murder of the Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh and the pulling by Channel 4 of Tom Holland’s film about the origins and construction of Islam and the Koran. I didn’t set out to give offence and if I have, I apologise. I cannot, however, deny the evidence, both from my reading and observation that Islam is inimical to just about everything which I hold dear.

    • Johan Adamson

      • October 1st, 2014 9:32

      But that’s no excuse for bombing them, surely, getting rid of religions that are ‘wrong’ went out with the crusades? What is needed is education, tolerance, love (as Jesus taught, I believe), not hatred. Someone needs to think of a better solution.

  • iantinkler

    • October 1st, 2014 10:26

    Andy, no one can deny the horrors perpetrated in the name of religion, that however can be all religions. Time perhaps to take stock and look at what you hold dear. Tolerance and forgiveness are a them of all Abrahamic faiths. Maybe holding that dear would be a good idea. Do not tar any group by their lowest denominator. That’s enough preaching from me!! I am a hedonist!

  • iantinkler

    • October 1st, 2014 10:27

    them !!? theme

  • Harry Dent

    • October 1st, 2014 12:30

    The gardening analogy is interesting, in that we’re talking about someone else’s garden, and it’s not up to us to tell them what they should be sowing.

    If the Taliban, al-Qaeda and IS are indeed weeds, they are weeds that the West planted and cultivated. Each organisation was funded and encouraged by the USA and its allies in the hope that it could defeat whomever else the US regime of the moment didn’t like.

    Time after time the West has launched assaults on the region, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and creating huge reservoirs of bitterness and anger that find their expression in revenge attacks on civilians in western countries.

    It’s awful that young people are being tempted to go and join these various terrorist groups, and it’s equally awful that young people of another religion are being tempted to go and join the organisation that terrorises the people of Gaza on a regular basis, but of course joining the Israeli army is smiled upon by our rulers and their supporters in the media.

    Let’s concentrate on how we run our own house and garden. With a bit less unwanted intereference, other gardeners might at least have a chance of cultivating their own patch.

  • James Mackenzie

    • October 1st, 2014 13:36

    I think we have to be very careful with the words we choose. I’m afraid that using language like “dustbin of feuding ferrets” when referring to Middle Eastern (Arab or predominantly Muslim) countries, and alleging that ISIL might be Islam with the mask off, are not very helpful and could indeed be termed offensive.
    I do, however, acknowledge that Andy Holt is in favour of allowing more refugees into this country, and is of the opinion that we should not be bombing in Iraq.

    I don’t know if Andy knows of the Muslim Professor Mona Siddiqui; she gave what I thought was a superb ‘Thought for the Day’ on BBC Radio 4 two days ago. The text is available from the BBC website.

    I’d also recommend reading the following article by George Monbiot:

  • Henry Condy

    • October 10th, 2014 7:57

    Doing away with the hand wringing, the fact is the USA has bombed Iraq and Syria , 267 times since August 2014, there has been a record 9 and a half per cent rise in the shares of Lockheed Martin Americas biggest defence contractor. In the same period of time, To the Americans this is only collateral damage , plus huge bonuses for shareholders, but think of those bombs raining down on innocent children, families, as you tuck your children safely in bed tonight, and remember with every bomb that explodes killing innocents thousands of terrorists have just been created , that didn’t exist before


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